Cervical Cancer is the cancer occur in lower part of the uterus connected with upper part of vagina mostly caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Sexual transmitted infection is also a reason of cervical cancer. Women can decrease risk of cervical cancer by screening test and taking vaccination that help to protect against HPV infection.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
There is no sign or symptoms of cervical cancer in early stage. But in advance stage, women can face symptoms or sign include:
- Women can get bleeding after intercourse, between period or after menopause.
- Heavy blood or watery discharge with foul odor.
- Women can feel pain during intercourse.
- Pelvic Pain.
If you feel one of the above symptoms, then you should contact with doctor.
Causes of Cervical Cancer
HPV is the most common cause of cervical cancer. There are more than hundred types of HPV. Most of which are not cause cervical cancer. Women who had many physical relation with lots of men have a great chance to be infected with HPV. And this increase the chances of cervical cancer.
Women who become pregnant before 16 years or give birth before 17 years have a very high chance to be infected as compare to the women who give birth after 24 years.
Types of Cervical Cancer
After knowing types of cancer, it will helps to determine which kind of treatment will be effective. Main types of cervical cancer are:
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma- This kind of cervical cancer starts in squamous cell outer side of cervix which spread till vagina. This is the most common type of cancer.
- Adenocarcinoma- This type of cancer starts in column-shaped glandular cells that line the cervical canal.
Its very rare that cancer occur in other part of cervix.
Women age over 30 should be advice to go for PAP or cervical smear test to detect early stages of cancer. HPV test should be taken at the same time.
HPV DNA testing
This test helps to diagnose whether patient is affected with any of HPV types, which are more common reason of cervical cancer. In this test, cells for cervix are taken for lab testing.
If any sign or symptoms of cervical cancer are seen in this test, then additional test may be recommended. These are
- Colposcopy- In this test, a doctor examine visually vagina with the help of speculum and a coloscope and using lightning magnifying device.
- Biopsy- In biopsy, a small tissue taken for lab testing.
- Cone Biopsy- In this test, a small cone shaped section of abnormal tissue is taken for form cervix for lab testing.
- CT Scan- A barium liquid is generally used to detect any abnormality.
- MRI- Special MRI may help to detect cervical cancer in early stage.
- Pelvic Ultrasound- Pelvic ultrasound also detect cervical cancer in early stage.
Stages of cancer is very useful because it helps doctor to decide which kind of treatment is required. Stages of cancer depends the development of cancer and how much it spread in other organ of the body. 4 stages is commonly use to describe, which are
Stage 0- Precancerous cells are present.
Stage 1- In this stage, cancer cell spread from surface to cervix, and chances of spread nearby uterus and lymph nodes.
Stage 2- In this stage, cancer cell spread beyond cervix and uterus but not at the wall of pelvis or lower part of vagina.
Stage 3- In this stage, cancer cell reach at lower part of vagina and it block uterus and the tube which carry urine from bladder.
Stage 4- In this stage, cancer spread beyond the bladder and growing out of pelvis. In advance stage 4, it spread in liver, lymph nodes and lungs.
There are some option of treatment of cervical cancer including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or combination of these.
Doctor will decide which kind of treatment should be given to patient depending on the stage of cancer, age and health of patient.
Treatment in very early stage, when cancer cell is confirmed in cervix has a high rate of success. Once cancer cell spread in other part of cervix or body, then the chances of success is very low.
Early Stage Cervical Cancer Treatment
Surgery is most common treatment option doctor used when cancer cell confirmed in cervix. Doctor may use radiotherapy also, if he think there is still cancer cell present in body after surgery.
Radiotherapy is also used to decrease the risk of occurrence of cancer. A doctor may shrink tumor to make it easily operate , then doctor may use chemotherapy. But its not a common treatment.
Treatment For Advanced Cervical Cancer
If cancer cell spread beyond cervix, then surgery is not a good option. More extensive treatment required for advance cancer stage which may be combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.